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Resolve to be Happy

Even in the Rain

By The Bantering WelshmanPublished about a year ago 9 min read
Resolve to be Happy
Photo by reza shayestehpour on Unsplash

“Into each life some rain must fall, some days must be dark and dreary,” -- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.

Resolving to be happy

I was thinking about that line this morning and considered how appropriate it is, and how I believe it is much more than it seems. For several days, we will move about our lives greeting each other with “Happy New Year,” and though I’m certain of the sincerity in those words, I think, in today’s day and age, most will find it difficult to believe for themselves. I pray for an abundance of joy in every life in this New Year, but I know it isn’t reasonable to expect that every life will be joyful just as it isn’t reasonable to expect any life to be inundated with sorrow. Though some lives may tend more one way or the other, it is more likely that most are an equally distributed aggregation of both.

For me, the supposition of Happy New Year comes amidst feelings of disappointment and self-pity; though I endeavor to hold on to hope within dwindling faith, I discover that I am less sympathetic toward others, but “Happy New Year” rolls off my tongue to every person, nonetheless. After two years of false starts and abject failures, I look to the New Year now more with trepidation than with expectation. Depression mounts as I sail farther down that river of life, looking back at the unobtained goals undulating in my wake and destined to collect along the bank like discarded waste. But I do not place these words here seeking pity for me or mine. Self-pity is debilitating enough without embellishment.

The New Year notwithstanding, it is appropriate to have my own epiphany this time of year. I know I have been so self-absorbed in my own struggles that I failed to see – more like, I failed to care about the battles waged and lost by my brothers and sisters in the trenches of life. I’m reminded again of that wise oracle Charles Dickens and his treatise, A Christmas Carol:

“Oh God! To hear the insect on the leaf pronouncing on the too much life among his hungry brothers in the dust.”

I hope Mr. Dickens will not be tormented in death by my restatement of his prose to befit my proposition:

Oh God! To hear the insect, secure on the leaf, lamenting its struggle to hold on while its brothers and sisters, defeated by the wind, are drowned in the mud.

My battles are real and my physical and mental acuity to wage them is diminished, but if I labor for myself and impose a wish of “Happy New Year” on my fellow man without the intention of making it so for them, then I am a hypocrite. This New Year, I resolve to do what I can to make it happy for others. I know that more often than not, I will succumb to the demons of anger and self-pity but surmounting those burdens will be the objectives of my own struggles this year for bringing happiness to others will increase the happiness for me and mine.

How I will bring happiness to others:

  • For my employer, I will strive to exceed expectations throughout the year to increase revenue and I will use assets responsibly.
  • I am going to return to church in person; I’m going to participate and give more of my time and treasure.
  • I’m going to tip 20 percent or more every single time.
  • I’m going to find more ways to volunteer.
  • I’m going to visit friends and family more.
  • I’m going to say “I love you more.”
  • I will expand my circle of friends and do more for them.
  • I will buy and read more books from new struggling authors.
  • I will turn the other cheek more frequently (every time if I can).
  • I will empathize more.
  • I will pray more and worry less; pray for five people every day.
  • Love more and anger less.

Obscured Joy

I’ll do all I can to spread a Happy New Year on everyone I can, but even when there is an abundance of joy, there are those who will suffer sorrow. “Some days must be dark and dreary,” and for those days I offer my empathy if I know it and my sympathy if I do not. Take heart in knowing that even the direst circumstances may impart happiness on another unbeknownst to us.

While young lovers will be lost in each other’s affection, another’s goes unfulfilled, and when a legacy is retired, a new journey may begin, but grief is an unfeeling succubus. Yet even death may impart joy though the survivor is beyond it. More than 16 years ago, my father passed away leaving me with feelings of hurt and anger. I was called home from Iraq when he was checked into the hospital for pneumonia. Though he hadn’t smoked in a decade, Dad had been a smoker for more than 40 years. Diagnosed with CLPD years before, this wasn’t the first time he had been in the hospital for respiratory issues, and I nearly declined my command’s offer for emergency leave. As it was, I made it home three days before he passed away.

Neither Mom nor I thought this would be the time, but I think Dad saw it coming. When Dad gave up smoking, he recommitted himself to the Lord. At the end, he wanted a CD player in his room to listen to his gospel music. He was on a respirator and couldn’t speak, but as the praise music came softly through the speaker, he communicated to me through a pen and pad that he loved me and was proud of me. On the day he passed, Mom and I had spent the day with him at the hospital. He was looking better and in good spirits. We went home in the afternoon to get something to eat before going back to stay with him that night. As soon as we got home the doctor called and told us to get back to the hospital right away. When we ran into his room, Dad was surrounded by doctors and nurses all working frantically to keep him alive – just long enough for us to say goodbye. In the chaos, the nurse ushered Mom up to Dad’s side and I saddled up next to her with my hand on her arm.

“You need to say something quickly!” the nurse urged us both. “We are losing him.”

I wanted to get up next to Dad’s face, but Mom wouldn’t let go and I wouldn’t move her away from the love of her life in his final moments.

“Hurry!” the nurse pleaded with me. “He can still hear you! If you want to say something, do it quickly!”

The moment was so surreal. My father was dying in front of me, and I didn’t know what to say to him. I didn’t even know if he could hear me. In the last moment, I grabbed his hand and shouted over the noise, “It’s okay Dad! It’s okay! I love you!” and then he died.

From the moment I got the Red Cross message until that phone call from the doctor to return to the hospital, I knew this was not the time. Dad was only 66 years old. I still had more fishing trips to take with him. He just couldn’t be dead. By prayer and by faith, I believed Dad would live many more years, that we would have more time together, but my faith was dashed in those final words, “It’s okay Dad! It’s okay!”

Joy Revealed

After putting Dad in the ground in the most beautiful grave plot in the world overlooking the Appalachian Valley to the towering Viking Mountain, and helping Mom to get her affairs in order, I went back to my unit in Iraq, an angry and unhappy man. Our wonderful, faithful and observant chaplain could see I was hurting and though I was trying to avoid discussing the matter, he cornered me one day as I was trying to sneak off to my bunk for a quick break.

“Hey Mike! Can we talk?” he asked me.

“Sure,” I said not really wanting to and guided him into my cozy containerized housing unit or CHU.

Our chaplain was good. He cracked through my defenses and got me to open up about my anger.

“I don’t understand,” I spat with rage. “My dad was only 66. He was supposed to be a grandfather to my kids. It wasn’t time.”

The chaplain let me vent without saying a word.

“I’m so pissed at God right now! This is just bullshit!” I screamed, totally out of control. “I prayed... I prayed the whole way home! I just don’t understand why now... Why now, while I’m in this damn shithole.”

The chaplain waited to see if I was finished before leaning toward me and putting his hand on mine. “I don’t have the answers,” he said to me. “I don’t propose to know God’s reasons, but the one thing I would offer to you is this...”

He had my full attention.

“We don’t know what your dad was praying for.”

At that exact moment my hurt and anger was displaced by an overwhelming feeling of selfishness, and I was so ashamed. I had become so engrossed in my own loss, that I failed to see what Dad had gained; his pain was gone and he no longer felt a burden to his family. I knew then that he was at peace, and I found joy in knowing that his prayers were answered though my heart was in pain.

Sew Happiness and Reap the Joy

Though some days will be “dark and dreary,” it is wholly necessary because “some rain must fall” for joy to blossom. This year, I resolve to go beyond wishing happiness in this new year; I will do whatever I can to make it so for as many as I can. And when my days are “dark and dreary,” I’ll endeavor to take pleasure in the rain knowing that for someone, the sun is shining – and for me, it will again.

Happy New Year! May your days be filled with more sun than rain.


About the Creator

The Bantering Welshman

M.S. Humphreys is The Bantering Welshman, an East Tennessee native, author, journalist, storyteller, marketing specialist, husband and step father. and

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